The British government will launch its own bluetooth corona contact research app in the coming weeks. The National Health Service (NHS) announced this today. The technology the app uses is based on research by Oxford University epidemiologists, mathematicians and ethicists.
Like other corona apps, this app also tracks how close the user has been to others. This data is stored in an “anonymous log” on the phone. When users get corona symptoms, they can choose to let the app inform the NHS. Based on a risk analysis, the NHS can then send an anonymous warning to persons who have come into contact with the relevant user in the days before.
The app also provides advice to the sick user, including self-quarantine if necessary. In a future version of the app, people may also choose to share additional information about themselves with the NHS. This data should help identify trends and hotspots. UK healthcare is also working with Apple and Google. In addition, the NHS will disclose the app’s privacy design and source code.
According to Matthew Gould, director of NHSX, the UK health care tech department, the app can only work if a large portion of the population installs it.
“This means that millions must trust the app and follow the advice it gives. To earn that trust, we will continue to work on the basis of transparent standards in the areas of privacy, security and ethics.”
British privacy regulator ICO is involved in the development of the app and will continue to be so as long as it is in use.